Spectrum Newsletter – November 2022

11 November 2022 | Research

Grace Langham

Newsletter | PDF (11 pages) | Wireless Infrastructure Strategies


This edition of the Spectrum Newsletter for up to the end of September 2022 highlights the spectrum auction activity in four regions worldwide:

  • the Americas (Latin America (LATAM) and North America (NA))
  • Asia–Pacific (emerging Asia–Pacific (EMAP) and developed Asia–Pacific (DVAP))
  • Europe (Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Western Europe (WE))
  • the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Notable events in the period include the following.

  • India. The Indian regulator completed its 5G multi-band spectrum auction on 1 August 2022. The four participants (operators Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea and transport and utility company Adani Group) spent a total of USD19 billion. Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel spent the most (USD11.1 billion and USD5.5 billion, respectively) and hope that the new spectrum will help them to improve their 4G networks and prepare for their 5G launches.

    This is the first time that operators in India have bid for frequencies in the 700MHz band. Almost half of Reliance Jio’s total spend went on spectrum in this band (it spent USD5 billion on spectrum in the 700MHz band), but Airtel decided not to invest in these frequencies. Adani Group acquired 5G mmWave frequencies for the first time and spent USD26.8 million.

  • Belgium. The final phase of Belgium’s multi-band spectrum auction was completed on 20 July 2022. Five operators raised a total of USD1.93 billion. The first two phases of the auction, both of which were completed on 20 June 2022, included the sale of 5G spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands and 2G and 3G spectrum in the 900MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.1GHz bands. Proximus spent the most (USD643 million) and acquired spectrum in all bands. The final phase of the auction included the sale of an additional 90MHz of frequencies in the 1400MHz band; Proximus acquired 45MHz, Orange Belgium acquired 30MHz and Telenet obtained 15MHz.
  • Estonia. The third and final round of the 3.6GHz spectrum auction in Estonia was completed on 26 July 2022 after just one round of bidding. Tele2 secured 130MHz of spectrum for USD1.6 million; Bite elected not to submit a bid. Elisa Estonia won the licence during the first round of the auction on 27 May 2022 after bidding USD7.8 million. Telia won the licence during the second round on 15 July 2022 after spending USD8.6 million.

    Estonia’s regulator, TTJA, is also preparing for an auction of 5G spectrum in the 700MHz band, which is expected to take place by mid-November 2022. Six blocks of 2×5MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band spectrum will be available, and each block will have a reserve price of USD993 000. A maximum of two licences will be available to each bidder. Applications for the auction will be accepted until 10 October 2022. The spectrum will be used to support the expansion of 5G coverage in rural areas.

  • Kenya. The Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya awarded Safaricom 60MHz of 5G spectrum in the 2600MHz band, but the amount that Safaricom paid was not disclosed. The CA also awarded Airtel Africa 60MHz of additional spectrum in the 2600MHz band for USD40 million. Airtel Africa will use this additional spectrum for 4G network expansions. The CA refarmed spectrum in the 3.5GHz band that was previously used for fixed-wireless access (FWA) networks for use with 5G services on 30 June 2022.


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